House votes to hold ex-IRS official in contempt for refusing to testify about tea party

The Associated Press

FILE - In this May 22, 2013, file photo, then-IRS official Lois Lerner is sworn in on Capitol Hill in Washington, before the House Oversight Committee hearing to investigate the extra scrutiny IRS gave to tea party and other conservative groups that applied for tax-exempt status. The House is preparing to vote May 7, on holding Lerner in contempt of Congress for refusing to testify at a pair of committee hearings about her role in the agency's tea party controversy. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

Associated Press + More

By STEPHEN OHLEMACHER, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — The House has voted to hold a former Internal Revenue Service official in contempt of Congress for refusing to testify at a pair of committee hearings about her role in the agency's tea party controversy.

Lois Lerner directed the IRS division that processes applications for tax-exempt status. A year ago, Lerner publicly disclosed that agents had improperly singled out tea party applications for extra, sometimes burdensome scrutiny.

An inspector general's report blamed poor management but found no evidence of a political conspiracy. Many Republicans in Congress believe otherwise.

House Democrats say Wednesday's vote was little more than an election-year ploy to fire up the GOP base.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.